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Open a Restaurant in Spain

Open a Restaurant in Spain

The food industry in Spain is one of the most attractive areas of investments as this country is a well-known touristic destination. Spaniards and foreign tourists spend a good amount of their money drinking and eating in restaurants so, opening a restaurant in Spain can be a very successful decision. Before starting a business in this field, you should try to understand how the business environment works and get legal advice from our lawyers in Spain prior to investing your money in a restaurant.


Things to consider when opening a restaurant in Spain

Before opening a restaurant in Spain, several aspects should be verified. Our team of lawyers in Spain can provide you with detailed information so that your restaurant will be a successful one. Here are a few things to consider when opening a business in Spain that will operate as a catering unit:

  • location for the restaurant – city centers and beaches are the most popular places to start a business;
  • with regards to the location of the restaurant, the higher the rent is, the more prominent is the location;
  • the size of the restaurant – you need to hire employees and manage the logistics procedures;
  • the menus that will be offered to clients and the specific of the restaurant;
  • licenses – this is a very important aspect when opening a restaurant in Spain

If you sell alcohol, you will need a license from the local authorities (ayuntamiento). Every municipality has its own requirements. Another important license is the food handler’s certificate (carnet de manipulador de alimentos). It addresses safety and public health issues and it is obtained from the regional government. As a general rule, the company’s representatives will also have to apply for a music license. If you want to open a restaurant, you can receive legal assistance in obtaining these licenses from our lawyers in Spain.

Amongst the numerous procedures investors have to complete with regards to the business permits and licenses necessary for starting a business, it is also required to consider the safety and health regulations that must be followed by the employees of the restaurant. The company’s owners must also create the necessary environment through which the company’s employees can be safe from various occupational risks. 

The procedures that have to be respected fall under the supervision of numerous institutions, such as the Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of National Health, Social Services and Equality, the National Institute of Safety and Hygiene and Work and the Labor Inspectorate. Specific procedures will be implemented in this case be the regional representatives of these institutions, including the on-site inspections.  

Companies in Spain will also need a business license which is known under the name of Impuesto sobre Actividades Economicas (the tax on economic activities). The document is issued by the Town Hall where the business is registered. The registration is mandatory, but the tax will be paid by the company’s owners only after the company’s turnover is above EUR 600,000; more information concerning this type of license can be obtained from our team of Spanish lawyers

The following video offers a short presentation on the main aspects investors should take into consideration when opening a restaurant in Spain:

What are the preferences of the Spanish consumers? 

Spain has a complex demographic structure, comprised by the local citizens, but it is also one of the largest immigration markets in Europe. Thus, there are numerous types of restaurants, designed to address the needs and preferences of the local consumer market, characterized by numerous ethnical groups. With regards to the preferences of the persons eating meals in local restaurants, the following data is available: 

  • as a general rule, the Spanish citizens spend approximately EUR 1,900 per year in bars and restaurants;
  • the Spanish market accounts for approximately 260,000 bars;
  • tapas is one of the favorite Spanish dish (the main preference of more than 70% of the Spanish citizens);
  • it is also important to know that numerous bars in Spain offer tapas for free when purchasing drinks (3 out 5 bars in Spain);
  • those opening a restaurant in Spain must also consider that 3 out 4 persons living in Spain are willing to travel to another region of the country in order to eat high quality food;
  • in 2018, the gastronomic tourism increased in Spain by 17%Andalusia and Galicia being some of the top regions chosen by locals and foreigners;
  • in 2018, the total expenditure on food experiences in Spain was of EUR 12,000 million (local and international tourists). 

Can an investor purchase a restaurant in Spain?

Yes, local and foreign investors can also start a business in Spain in the catering industry by purchasing a restaurant that is available for sale. Through this option, the registration procedures are, of course, no longer needed, and this means that the investors can start their operations here in a much faster way. 

However, in this case it is highly recommended to request the legal assistance of our law firm in Spain, where businessmen can receive information on all the documents that must be signed when purchasing a business available for sale, but also on the aspects that the sellers must disclose to the new owners.  

Provided that an investors found an attractive offer for a restaurant available for sale, it is necessary to perform the due diligence procedures, a process through which all the company’s documents will be verified by lawyers, accountants and other professionals. This process also refers to verifying if the location of the restaurant meets the necessary standards and if there aren’t any hidden flaws.  

The advantage of purchasing a restaurant available for sale is given by the fact that the investors will no longer have to prepare the initial capital for starting the business, which can have a high value in the case of a restaurant. Besides this, it can also provide better lending opportunities, as banks will always prefer to collaborate with businesses that have been operational for a while, compared to a business that has just started its activities. 

Another option available for investors in this case is by entering a franchising agreement, a popular way to enter the catering sector, due to the fact that respective type of business prove that is operating strategies are efficient. In this case, the investors do not have to create a business strategy; instead, they will follow a well-established business model. Our team of Spanish lawyers can provide legal representation to businessmen interested in opening a restaurant through a franchising agreement. 

Steps to take in order to open a restaurant in Spain

There are a few more things to do before opening a restaurant in Spain. First of all, you need an identification number (NIE) for your business so that you can rent or buy a property in Spain. The identification number can be obtained from a local police station (it is necessary to have a valid identity document for this). Then you need to choose the type of business you want to engage in.

There are a lot of options for you: sole proprietors, partnerships or different types of companies. The registration is three fold: with the local authorities (licencia de apertura), with the Trade Register (for tax purposes) and with the social security office. After these steps are accomplished, you can finally start the economic activity at your restaurant in Spain. For details about the business registration procedure, please contact our law firm in Spain.